Hope’s Gift

Author: Kelly Starling Lyons

Published: 2012

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Download the official Discussion and Activity Guide for Hope’s Gift

A poignant story celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation

It’s 1862 and the Civil War has turned out to be a long, deadly conflict. Hope’s father can’t stand the waiting a minute longer and decides to join the Union army to fight for freedom. He slips away one tearful night, leaving Hope, who knows she may never see her father again, with only a conch shell for comfort. Its sound, Papa says, echoes the promised song of freedom. It’s a long wait for freedom and on the nights when the cannons roar, Papa seems farther away than ever. But then Lincoln finally does it: on January 1, 1863, he issues the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing the slaves, and a joyful Hope finally spies the outline of a familiar man standing on the horizon.



“Tate’s large-featured, expressive characters reflect the story’s deep emotions and mesh nicely with the book’s quiet tone. Published in part to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this makes a good introduction to the concepts of slavery and freedom and their effects on families.”


“A warm story about the love of a family and the jubilation of freedom, . . . ”


Selected for the 2014 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 

International Reading Association’s Children’s Choices 2014